SAN DIEGO -- Luis Urias, the top second-base prospect in baseball, made his big league debut Tuesday night. But it was another Padres rookie -- and one of Urias' long-time Minor League teammates -- who quickly stole the show.
And we mean quickly.
Right-hander Jacob Nix turned in an absolutely brilliant performance, shutting down the Mariners for 8 1/3 innings in a 2-1 Padres victory at Petco Park. He did so at a crisp pace in which he didn't record a strikeout or a walk and threw only 79 pitches.
Nelson Cruz's solo home run in the ninth ended Nix's night and his shot at a rare Maddux (a nine-inning shutout thrown with fewer than 100 pitches). Manager Andy Green called upon closer Kirby Yates for the final two outs, and Nix left to a standing ovation.
"Being selfish, I want to finish that game," Nix said. "... One day I'll go nine. Maybe I'll mix in some punchouts, too."
Nix induced weak contact all night and became the sixth pitcher since 2000 to throw eight innings without a strikeout or a walk -- and the first since Rick Porcello in 2014.
"Outs are outs," Nix said. "I'm here to get outs. I don't really care how I get them."
The Padres jumped on top in the first inning when Travis Jankowski swatted the first leadoff home run of his career and his third of the season. Hunter Renfroe tacked on another run in the fourth with a two-out RBI single.
Nix made certain that lead held up -- with some help from his defense behind him. Mitch Haniger, the first batter of the game, hit a sharp chopper to Urias' left. Urias, who finished 0-for-3 with a walk, made a brilliant diving play and threw accurately to first for the out. Not a bad way to start a big league career.
"I don't know how I made it," Urias said. "To be honest, I wasn't nervous at all, the whole game, maybe because of the diving play. I just enjoyed the moment."
Urias was rock-solid all night. Freddy Galvis, his middle-infield partner, made two excellent diving plays. Nix even got in on the act, making an outstanding running play on a Jean Segura bunt attempt to end the fourth.
"That's probably the best defensive game we've had in a really long time, if not all season," said Green.
Of course, it only makes sense that the Padres' defense was outstanding. Thirty-one Mariners came to the plate against Nix, and all of them put the ball in play, until Cruz's ninth-inning homer.
"He'd done enough today," Green said of his quick hook afterward. "I didn't want to put him in a situation where he's walking off that mound in a tie situation or a losing situation."
Yates slammed the door, punching out Kyle Seager to end the game. It was the Padres' first strikeout of the night.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Stellar fielding: Nix turned three Mariners bunt attempts into five outs. His play on Segura was excellent. But he also started a pair of double plays when Seattle starter Felix Hernandez attempted to bunt in the third and fifth innings. Both times Nix took a calculated risk in going for a forceout, and both times he was rewarded for doing so.
Galvis' great glove: The Mariners' best chance to score came in the sixth, following Jean Segura's two-out triple. Nix found himself in a hitter's count against Cruz, who smashed a sharp grounder to Galvis' right. Galvis made an great diving play and threw from his knees on one hop, ending the inning.
Only one pitcher in Padres history has recorded a start longer than Nix's without allowing a strikeout or a walk. During his Cy Young Award-winning season in 1976, Randy Jones pitched a 10-inning complete-game victory against the Giants, and every batter he faced put the ball in play.
HE SAID IT
"He's smart. He's confident, too. ... If you want to succeed in this league, those are two really great attributes to have." -- Green, on Nix
Rookie left-hander Joey Lucchesi appears to have regained his early season form. He's been sharp in three of his four outings this month, though he's still having trouble working deep into games. On Wednesday, Lucchesi faces the Mariners with first pitch slated for 12:40 p.m. PT.